Let’s take a look this week at a couple who opened three restaurants over the past 4 years in Laconia. Dave Henrick and Yvette Imhof arrived on the local restaurant scene in March of 2010 when they took over a vacant, former Dunkin Donuts building on Union Ave. In a short time they had the grand opening of Lakeside Famous Roast Beef and they quickly became the place to go to for a delicious comforting bite and great service.
Q: You guys came into the area, and BAM! Within 4 years, we’ve got 3 popular eateries up and running. How did it start?
Yvette commented, “I’ve always been in the restaurant business since I was 15 years old. McDonald’s was my first job, followed by Papa Gino’s and later ran my own pizza store in Gloucester, where I grew up, for eight years. After a six-year stint at TJ MAXX in retail and a catering company in Beverly, I was ready for a new change.”
Q: What about you, Dave?
“I grew up in Salem, MA and I’ve been coming to the Lakes Region for 45 years—I vacationed as a kid at the Naswa Resort on Paugus Bay, my children and I spent summers at the lake and at South Down Shores. I enjoyed a 22-year career in corporate and commercial insurance brokerage. From 2009 through 2012 I became a football and wrestling coach at Peabody High School. I always wanted to go full circle and give back to the kids and the community by coaching. I enjoy the sport so much, having played offensive guard at Salem, MA. High and American International College. Team sports have been a big part of my life—the comradery, bonding, and desire to be a winner provides a great background for future endeavors.”
Q: So how did you ultimately end up in Laconia?
“Yvette and I have been together for six years. She had been camping in NH but had never visited the Lakes Region. We would take rides up to the lake and drive around. I always had the thought of opening some type of restaurant around the lake and we ran into a vacant building on the main stretch that was heavily settled with pizza, burger and sub shops. When we pulled up to the building Yvette said ‘It looks like a roast beef shop.’ And off we went! We enjoyed Bill and Bob’s and Giovanni’s in MA and after we completely rehabbed the building, putting in long nights, we put together a diversified menu of roast beef with the same sauce and bread from MA, steak and cheese, steak tips, pizza, and calzones. We like to give back to the community and help sponsor a lot of the banquets, high school sports team feeds, school programs, and other events.”
Q: Alright, you’ve got your first one up and running; what’s next?
Yvette commented, “We had Lakeside only one year and Dave was talking about the former Galley Restaurant, which was vacant for a long time. He said, ‘I’m just checking it out.’ Next think I know, he texted me a photo of a key to the building! Oh my gosh, it looks like we’re off on another one!”
Dave explained the building needed a complete redo, it was in really bad shape; however, Yvette could see his vision and stood by his side. After seven months of long nights and hard work completely renovating the building they had a grand opening of the 405 Pub and Grill…an interesting name that tells you right where to find it on Union Avenue, just about a mile and a half from Lakeside. Like their first restaurant, Henrick’s popular recipe for marinara sauce was employed and Yvette’s alfredo sauce and clam chowder were launched. The bar area features several large screen televisions and it’s been a popular meeting place.
“Andrea Foster is the General Manager and Jamie Foster is our Bar Manager. Working with great people has been the key to our success. We wanted to launch the 405 Pub and Grill to be the place that locals would go to on a year-round basis. We offer different specials everyday—this Wednesday we went through 3,000-4,000 wings. On Monday nights we’ll offer specials with a burger/beer, Thursday nights we’ll have a happy hour with a music theme, and on Friday and Saturday we offer our king baked stuffed lobster, which we sell out of each night.”
Q: Two great restaurants up and running, and then…
“Again, we found another vacant building, this time on Weirs Blvd, across from the old Handy Landing, that had been operated before as a restaurant/sandwich shop. I talked with the owner Dennis Bourque and it looked like an easier transition. We put in a new kitchen and some renovations, signage, and with Yvette’s incredible attention to detail, opened up within four weeks’ time on Memorial Day weekend as Lakeside 2. At Lakeside 2 we opened with the same exact menu as Lakeside, except we added beer and wine, which has been popular, and some tables set up outside. We gained a lot of new customers in the Weirs/Meredith area and surrounding campgrounds. Brendan Hoggs is our General Manager who oversees the kitchen at Lakeside and Lakeside 2—he’s done a great job for us.”
Q: How do you keep it all running and organized with so many employees?
Dave said, “It all goes back to the old football and wrestling days. We have a motto in place with all of our employees: ‘To be better today than we were yesterday.’ All of us operate as a team and we try to improve upon and help each other at all three restaurants at all times. There’s a culture here when you wear the 405 Pub and Grill or Lakeside shirt that we’re proud to wear it, because we believe in total service to our customers and giving back to the community. Both Yvette and I try to lead by example, and I’ve got to say, we have the best bunch of employees working together—without them the success of the three restaurants would have been impossible. Yvette has been the key ingredient to putting all the pieces together and without her this undertaking would not have occurred.”
Q: What do you like most about NH’s Lakes Region?
“It’s the culture here…We like the people most about the Lakes Region. There’s such a sense of community up here. It’s incredible the way everyone pulls together when there’s an event whether it be a Christmas auction, fundraising for a football stadium, championship games, or a family’s loss.”
Yvette commented she loves the clean air, the quality environment with less congestion and traffic than back in MA where she grew up—you get to know everyone on a first-name basis. “We also love the change of seasons. There’s something going on all the time, not only in the summer months when it gets really hectic and there’s so much recreation, but the winter’s full with fishing derbies, pond hockey tournaments, sled dog races, and other events. We’ve enjoyed getting involved in the Weirs with our most recent venture. Motorcycle Week has a great historic following and the Fourth of July brings in a whole new spectrum of vacationers. I’d love to see some boat shows, music festivals, possibly a seafood festival, at the Weirs in the future. When we do get a rare day off we love to ride our motorcycle together and travel around the beautiful countryside and take a short trip when the opportunity arises.”
So here we are today, two great hardworking people who are extremely well-liked in the Lakes Region have built three popular and successful businesses in a short period of time, and they’re now building a new home at South Down Shores in Laconia. Just another great example of some of the wonderful people that make up the fabric of the Lakes Region we all call home.
This article was written by Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc. Frank can be reached at (603) 279-7046.